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Prayer Amidst Distractions--Gregory the Great

 Seeking to Pray

Amidst Distractions

St. Gregory the Great

 

 

Pope Saint Greogory the GreatThis frank and humble admission of struggle with the many distractions that can interrupt prayer comes from a politician turned monk turned pope -- one of the greatest popes in history, Saint Gregory the Great.  It is an excerpt from a homily on Ezekiel  (Lib. 1, 11, 4-6: CCL 142, 170-172) and is used in the Roman Catholic Office of Readings for the memorial of St. Gregory on September 3.

 

Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. Note that a man whom the Lord sends forth as a preacher is called a watchman. A watchman always stands on a height so that he can see from afar what is coming. Anyone appointed to be a watchman for the people must stand on a height for all his life to help them by his foresight.

 

How hard it is for me to say this, for by these very words I denounce myself. I cannot preach with any competence, and yet insofar as I do succeed, still I myself do not live my life according to my own preaching.

 

I don not deny my responsibility; I recognize that I am slothful and negligent, but perhaps the acknowledgment of my fault will win me pardon from my just judge. Indeed when I was in the monastery I could curb my idle talk and usually be absorbed in my prayers. Since I assumed the burden of pastoral care, my mind can no longer be collected; it is concerned with so many matters.

 

I am forced to consider the affairs of the Church and of the monasteries. I must weigh the lives and acts of individuals. I am responsible for the concerns fo our citizens. I must worry about the invasions of roving bands of barbarians, and beware of the wolves who lie in wait for my flock. I must become an administrator lest the religious go in want. I must put up with certain robbers without losing patience and at times I must deal with them in all charity.

 

With my mind divided and torn to pieces by so many problems, how can I meditate or preach wholeheartedly without neglecting the ministry of proclaiming the Gospel? Moreover, in my position I must often communicate with worldly men. At times I let my tongue run, for if I am always severe in my judgments, the worldly will avoid me, and I can never attack them as I would. As a result I often listen patiently to chatter. And because I too am weak, I find myself drawn little by little into idle conversation, and I begin to talk freely about matters which once I would have avoided. What once I found tedious I now enjoy.

 

So who am I to be a watchman, for I do not stand on the mountain of action but lie down in the valley of weakness? Truly the all-powerful Creator and Redeemer of mankind can give me in spite of my weaknesses a higher life and effective speech; because I love him, I do not spare myself in speaking of him.

 

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The Early Church Fathers, Catholic Church, Fathers of the Church, Marcellino D'AmbrosioThe Early Church Fathers - VOL I

 

A society characterized by the violence, loss of respect for life, exotic religious cults, homosexuality, sexual promiscuity, and even pedophilia. No, we're not talking about modern times -

 

The Early Church Fathers succeeded in bringing a Pagan society to Christ. If we pay attention to what they taught, we will succeed in doing the same for our own de-Christianized society!

 

Album 1: The Apostolic Fathers and Irenaeus

Album 2: The Apologists, Ambrose, and Augustine

Early Church Fathers 2 DVD Setó$49.95

Early Church Fathers 2 CD Setó$18.00 

 

Personal Prayer: Pathway to Joy

Marcellino D'Ambrosio, Ph.D.

Personal Pray: Pathway to Joy, Catholic Faith, 30 day money back guarenteeEveryone knows that personal prayer is important.  You can't expect to deepen a relationship with God talking with Him only once a week!  But how, in the midst of the busy, noisy life we all lead, can we develop a pattern of daily prayer that really works?  And if we are successful in carving out some moments for prayer, what do we do?  How should we spend that time in way that would be most fruitful?

Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio has taught spiritual theology academically, but, more importantly, he's had plenty of practice applying that tradition to everyday life.  With a family of seven, a business, and a non-profit corporation to run, he knows the challenges that a busy, active life can pose to the Christian who wants to pray.  In this talk, he lays down principles and gives practical suggestions on how busy laypeople can develop a prayer life that leads to joy and personal transformation.

CD - $8.95

 


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